Better Tomorrows

David Beeby, Chair of Cumbria Community Foundation and a former High Sheriff of Cumbria launched Better Tomorrows in 2021.

It is a three-year programme encouraging people within Cumbria to become accredited in youth work and substantially increase the number of young people having access to support from youth workers to help them reach their full potential.

Over the next three years, this unique initiative will provide accredited levels 2 and 3 youth work training to more than a hundred people as well as offer grants of up to £75,000 over three years to community organisations setting up or providing new youth work opportunities for local people.

In the first year of the programme, Better Tomorrows has supported 19 organisations, trained 26 new youth workers and funded nearly 4,000 hours of provision. Read the first year evaluation here.

David said: “Many young people have had their lives turned upside down by the pandemic and are facing unprecedented challenges caused by interrupted education, uncertainty about the future and anxiety exacerbated by increases in poverty and family ill health.

“High-quality youth work has a crucial role to play helping many young people to achieve their full potential. Through participation in youth work, young people gain confidence and competence, develop self-assurance, and have the opportunity to establish high expectations and aspirations for themselves.

“Despite the critical role that youth work plays in a young person’s life, youth work is not a statutory responsibility for local authorities. As money has diminished, funding that previously supported youth workers through qualifications and training has also reduced. There are still areas in Cumbria without any youth provision. That’s why I decided to launch Better Tomorrows.”

Although spearheaded by David, Better Tomorrows works in partnership with Cumbria Youth Alliance and local funders Cumbria Community Foundation and Francis C Scott Charitable Trust, who have also invested in the programme.

Helen Carter, Director at Francis Scott Trust, said: “FST believes fundamentally in the positive contribution access to quality youth work has for young people, particularly those who experience challenging circumstances. Better Tomorrow’s is securing the future of quality youth work provision across Cumbria, and we are proud to be a partner in the programme.”

CEO of Cumbria Youth Alliance, Becky Wolstenholme, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be a partner organisation with the Better Tomorrows programme. Building solid platforms by supporting and offering training to vital youth organisations that will be delivering now, more than ever, essential services to enable young people to reach their full potential.”

More than 40 funders have supported Better Tomorrows  to date, meaning more than £1 million will be invested over the next three years into quality youth work training and provision.

John Bothamley CBE, Chairman of Four Acre Trust, which has donated £150,000, said: “Four Acre Trust is pleased to support this great initiative to train and support more youth workers across Cumbria. The future of our country relies on our children; we have a duty to give them all the best start in life and this is why we are offering to match, pound for pound, donations from new donors.”

Donations have also been received from local businesses including LLWR and individual supporters. David is delighted to have received so much encouraging support

Cath Giel, Director of Communications & Stakeholder Relations at LLWR, said: “This targeted initiative to support young people across Cumbria is well-timed to meet a pressing need, given the impact of COVID-19 on our communities.

“Better Tomorrows’ will address the shortage in the provision of trained youth workers across the county, equipping a new generation to reach out and support our young people, building a sustainable model that will continue to deliver long after this programme has ended.”

“The programme has been designed to be scalable,” said David. “The more donations we receive, the more people we’ll be able to support, not just through accredited training, but also quality youth work provision.

“We’ve never needed youth work more and it’s never been more important to collaborate and align our activities to work with young people. It is so important that we support young people to be ambitious about their future to achieve better tomorrows,” he said.

Read the full Better Tomorrows proposal here.

Donations can be made via the online giving page

Alternatively, if you would like to make a bank transfer, please email If you are a UK taxpayer, please also complete a Gift Aid Declaration form and we can claim an extra 25% on the donation.

Invoices can be supplied if required.

Other funders include: